Fact Check: Rakesh Tikait Never Supported Farm Bills, Paper Clipping Saying Otherwise Viral
Rakesh Tikait, farmer leader & National spokesperson of BKU, refuted the report about him supporting the three new farm bills. Posts have been going viral of him changing his opinions about the matter. However, his statements are being used out of context.
Rakesh Tikait, the farmer leader and national spokesperson of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), is currently in the news for showing support and participating in the farmers' protest. However, there have been claims made against the BKU leader that he initially supported the new farm bills. A viral post on social media shows a newspaper clipping with a headline that reads, "Farmers' age-old demand fulfilled: Rakesh Tikait".
This post is being shared by netizens along with the claim that Tikait has changed his statement now because of the involvement of the opposition party. A tweet in Hindi says, "When the government introduced the new farm bills, Rakesh Tikait along with many opposition leaders welcomed the move and said that the government has fulfilled years old demands of us farmers. Then the vote bank politics by the opposition started assembling the Khalistani traitors and now the country is burning."
The same newspaper clipping is making rounds on Facebook as well.
This post has been archived here.
Rakesh Tikait, who is now protesting against the new farm laws, initially supported them.
On searching the headline used in the viral image, "Farmers' years' old wishes have come true: Rakesh Tikait", an old article posted by Live Hindustan shows up. This article was published on June 4, 2020. The report says, "The government has allowed farmers to sell their produce anywhere, giving the gift of 'one country one market' to 14 crore farmers in India. The cabinet has approved it through an ordinance. BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait welcomed the government's move, adding that this had been a BKU demand for many years. However, he also urged the government to look after the fact that instead of farmers, middlemen should not be able to buy their crops cheaply and sell them in other states. He further demanded the central government to bring another law so that the produce of the farmer could not be sold at a price lower than the MSP anywhere in the country."
A news article from the Asianet News Hindi also reported the same on December 12, 2020.
The new farm bills were put forward in Parliament on June 5, 2020. They were introduced in the Lok Sabha on September 14, 2020. After being passed in the lower house, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent on September 27, 2020.
Tikait clarified in a debate on Aaj Tak posted on the news channel's YouTube channel on December 21, 2020, that his statements were being used out of context. In the video from 3:42, he says, "A lot of reforms by the Prime Minister are good. I will welcome those reforms too if the PM adds farmers to it also. Like Digital India program of the Modi government is good, we will appreciate him if farmers also get benefitted by it. That is what I had said. My mention about 'digital India' was removed from the extract and replaced by 'farms bills'."
Tikait's social media shows that on June 3, 2020, he had posted a newspaper clipping wherein he said that the farmers were being cheated in the name of the increase in minimum support price (MSP).
Tikait has been camping at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border as a part of a protest by the farmer union. He has put his union's demands forward multiple times asking that the Centre repeal the three farm laws and instead, frame a new one that will assure the continuation of the MSP.
Tikait's other video recently went viral amidst the farmers' protest. The viral video shows him distressed and sobbing. He exclaims that the BJP is trying to "destroy" farmers and if the farm laws are not repealed, he will commit suicide.
Tikait was adamant about not leaving the protest site till they see a change for the betterment of the farmers. As this video went viral, it attracted a lot of farmers across UP to join the protest again at the Ghazipur border. The BKU's Jat leader's emotional appeal to the farmers was strong enough to rekindle the whole farmers' movement.
Hence, the viral post with a newspaper clipping that claims that Tikait was initially supporting the farm bills is false.
Alt News has earlier fact-checked the claim and most of the research material is taken from there.
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